Jenolan Caves

Square Poop and Winter Wildlife in the Blue Mountains

July 8, 2016

Young, male lyrebird - one of many that live at Jenolan Caves.If you love walking and fresh air, Winter is the best time for exploring the rugged mountain tracks of the Blue Mountains. For overall fitness, there is nothing healthier. 

Jenolan Caves is located in a vast nature reserve, home to native birds and wildlife.  So, if you are observant and patient, you can spot birds and animals as you stroll along the bush tracks near the caves. You don't have to walk far at all. The best time to spot shy native wildlife is during the less busy times – Monday to Friday, outside of holidays.  Roam around before 9am and after 4pm, to see lyrebirds and native animals.  During the day, there are many birds to spot - large and small.

All of the following images were taken by cave tour guide, Dr Anne Musser, during June, in or just outside the main caves precinct. Dr Musser is constantly on the lookout for wildlife, and her diligence is frequently rewarded.  She uses a DSLR camera with a long, wide, hefty lens, to get perfect close-up shots. However, visitors frequently achieve great photos with smart phones only - and they are much easier to carry.

Jenolan is  a good place to look for lyrebirds in the wild. They are plentiful in the valley and are often seen digging up the garden areas around Caves House.  Young male superb lyrebirds, like the one below, do not grow their lyre tails until they are three or four years old. Lyrebirds are known for mimicking other birds, animals, cars, chainsaws and anything else.  Hear its actual song.

The vibrant White-Eared Honeyeater (below) has a habit of collecting hair from people's heads to line its nest.  Hear its song.

The Superb Fairy-Wren (below) is found throughout south-east Australia. The males, which are a vibrant blue, have been dubbed the "least faithful birds in the world" owing to their rampant promiscuity. Female birds have been observed being courted by 13 males in a half-hour period.  Hear its song.

The Superb Fairy Wren or Blue Fairy Wren

Eastern Yellow Robins (below) belong to the genus Eopsaltria which translates as 'dawn-harper'. They are among the first birds to be heard at dawn. Listen to its song.

Pied Currawongs (below) are significant to the Gundungurra people, in whose traditional lands Jenolan is located. These large birds, with their yellow eyes, are known to the Gundungurra as sentries. In Aboriginal culture, the land is divided into men's and women's country.  If a man or woman strays into the wrong country, the currawong calls out a warning. If the currawong makes a welcoming call, you are in the right place.  Here is the call of the currawong.

Though smaller than kangaroos, wallaroos (like the one below) are large and stocky.  They use their tail as a third leg, for support while sitting. Best identified by their black snout, they have coarse shaggy fur, that can be dark gray, reddish, or black. Wallaroos thump their feet to warn of impending danger, and when threatened, they emit hissing sounds.  They are not often seen at Jenolan.  This one was spotted near our main car park in June.  

Wombats are rarely seen during the day, but there are many in and around the Jenolan valley after dark.  Wombats are remarkable animals, displaying many unexpected survival traits.  Perhaps the strangest, is that wombat poop is square. They mark their territories by defecating, and it’s thought that the shape of their poop keeps it from rolling away. Special bones in their backsides allow them to squeeze and form their feces into cubes.

So on your next visit to Jenolan, keep your eyes open and your camera ready, above ground as well as below.  Glimpses of shy wild native Australian birds and animals are a very special treat, if you are patient, observant and willing to explore Jenolan's range of bush walks.

2 Comments (Reply)
Lynette Edwards (Reply)
When we were last at Jenolan Caves we saw a spotted quoll near the cafe and advertising boards. We saw quite a few wallaroos near the pump house. Missed seeing any platypus but saw air bubbles that could have been made by them. Just love visiting Jenolan Caves!
That's great that you saw so many animals - the quolls are especially hard to spot.

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4655 Jenolan Caves Road, Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains NSW. Ph: 1300 76 33 11 or +61 2 6359 3911

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